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“A Square taken out of Lisbon Portugal in Asia.”

Largo do Senado (Senado Square)
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$139.00*
and up
Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
Ranked #27 of 259 things to do in Macau
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 29, 2014

My 1st impression was a jaw drop.. This is where you see the Portuguese architecture at it's best.. Literally a square taken right out of Portugal.. From the colonial style buildings to the old world churches and in between where you place your feet.. The Portuguese sidewalk also known as Calcada Portuguesa in the beautiful wave pattern which you can see in many places around the world where the Portuguese laid roots.. From Copacabana in Rio to Goa in India.. The Senado Square is one of the most well preserved examples of this.

Thank TheCanadianNavigator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"senado square"
in 312 reviews
"st paul"
in 70 reviews
"portuguese architecture"
in 43 reviews
"egg tarts"
in 64 reviews
"lots of shops"
in 40 reviews
"holy house of mercy"
in 18 reviews
"starting point"
in 20 reviews
"post office"
in 25 reviews
"crowded place"
in 18 reviews
"paul ruins"
in 19 reviews
"cookies"
in 35 reviews
"chinese new year"
in 30 reviews
"local food"
in 22 reviews
"must visit place"
in 25 reviews
"shopping area"
in 21 reviews
"take pictures"
in 19 reviews
"visit macau"
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1,192 - 1,196 of 3,407 reviews

Reviewed July 26, 2014

I like the food and its price. Dislike? There is no signboard about the restaurants in that 3rd building

Thank Corazon C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2014

Largo do Senado translated "Senate Square" is a portal where modernity converges with history, a focal point where cultures intertwine; and a summary of Macau's glorious past, glittering present and vivid future.

A walk though the pavement with unique curvilinear patterns is a walk through old Europe while a peek inside one of the shops is a glimpse to the Chinese was of life. It's also the gateway to the Rua do Sau Paolo and the Macau fortress.

If you miss this place, you will miss Macau entirely.

Thank ivancarlojose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2014

"Senate Square" is the heart of historic Portuguese Macao, and to a lesser extent, of modern Macau. The "largo" in Largo do Senado, translates much better into Italian, French or Spanish (piazza, place, plaza) than into English (square). It's certainly not even close to being square, having six sides. Even discounting the panhandle, none of the remaining four sides is parallel to any of the others. In English, the word "plaza" has become synonymous with "shopping mall," which is not entirely inappropriate here: you can get Chinese electronics, English books, Portuguese tarts, Austrian crystal, American ice cream, and other goods and eats.

However, the largo is much more than a shopping venue. It's a nexus where everyone in Macau can come together, with places where you can sit and rest and talk. Good luck getting one of those seats, though, since the pedestrian population in the largo can be 50 times the seating capacity of the benches. On the other hand, the people-watching is stellar; there's always something interesting going on.

Like the piazzi of European towns, the largo is surrounded by several of the most important municipal institutions of the past and present, housed in imposing buildings.

On the southwest side of the main square, across Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, is the most significant of these, the Leal Senado (Loyal Senate) building, a severely neoclassical building which was the seat of the municipal assembly and council under the Portuguese, with representation by geographical church parishes (we sort of still have that in Louisiana). It is still the seat of the municipal government. The current building dates from 1874.

The senado was "leal" because it remained loyal during the dark period of 60 years, from 1580 to 1640, when the Spanish Hapsburgs, starting with Philip II, reigned in Portugal. I have no idea who the Senado remained loyal to, except I'm confident it wasn't the rightful heir to the throne (an 11-year-old boy in Parma, Italy, whose father prudently refrained from challenging the dominant military powerhouse in Europe by putting in a claim for the throne on the lad's behalf), and I'm sure that the official version put out by, of all folks, the Macau Instituto Cultural, is bonkers: "The name 'Leal Senado' was bestowed by Portuguese King D. John IV in 1654, after Portugal regained its independence following 60 years of rule by Spain (1580-1640). During this period, the people of Macao remained loyal to the Portuguese king, who at the time was exiled in Brazil." As Portugal's Prince Regent, a CERTAIN Dom John WAS exiled to Brazil, and he DID eventually return and become the king, but that was seven monarchs later, in the 1800s. However, it is true that Macao was in a unique position to thumb its nose at Madrid, since during that entire 60-year period, Macao was still Chinese soil, under the sufferance of the Ming Empire. But in any event, to this day the Macanese are extremely proud of the fact that only their senate remained loyal to someone, somewhere, allegedly.

The Santa Casa da Misericordia is another notable building on the square. The original "holy house of mercy" was a charity institution in Lisbon founded by Queen Leonor in 1498, the same year Vasco da Gama reached India and founded the Portuguese empire in the east. The charity spread throughout the growing Portuguese empire, with the one on Senate Square being built in 1569, the same year that the northern earls tried to place Mary, Queen of Scots, on the English throne held by Elizabeth, and that the Moghul emperor Akbar tried to move the Indian capital from Agra to a brand-new city at a bone-dry location called Fatehpur Sikri; obviously the decision to build Santa Casa was the only big idea that panned out that year. The Casa's facade has Mannerist details that were all the rage in the late 1500s, but were soon superseded by the Baroque in the 1600s. The Santa Casa cared for the sick, for widows, and for orphans. It's still a social-services institution today. (see photo)

The General Post Office, on the southeast side of the main square, with its double cupola--a four-sided clock tower topped by a circular bell tower--is by far the most recent building, being completed in 1929. (see photo)

The combination of all the buildings, along with the irregular street layout and the patterned sidewalk, makes for a remarkable slice of southern Europe on the shores of China. Not fake Europe (i.e. not gondola rides at a casino-hotel) but the very heart of a real, 500-year-old European city on the far side of the world.

Thank Vincent M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 22, 2014

Another great place for photos and for shopping. Very easy to get to via bus or taxi. Lot's of places to grab street food and some souvenirs.

Thank 23angeles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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